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French Religious Leaders Call For Unity After Deadly Church Attack

France's main religious leaders have called for unity after Islamic State (IS) extremists attacked a Catholic church and killed an elderly priest in northern France.

After meeting with President Francois Hollande on July 27, Archbishop of Paris Andre Vingt-Trois called on Catholics to "overcome hatred that comes in their heart" and not to "enter the game" of the IS group that "wants to set children of the same family in opposition to each other."

Paris Imam Dalil Boubakeur said France's Muslims must push for a better training of Muslim clerics and called for a reform of French Muslim institutions.

Boubakeur also urged stepped-up security at places of worship.

Hollande gathered top religious leaders at the Elysee Palace, a day after two attackers stormed the church in the northern town of Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray during morning mass and slitting the throat of the priest, who was in his 80s.

One of the attackers was identified as Adel Kermiche, who was awaiting trial on terror charges and had been fitted with an electronic tag.

The assault came less than two weeks after an IS-claimed attack in the southern French city of Nice killed 84 people.

Based on reporting by AP and AFP